In typical New York City fashion we have good, cautiously optimistic, and bad news to report all at once regarding Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Clear Curbs program. Originally this plan banned deliveries from 7a.m.-10a.m. and from 4p.m-7p.m. along parts of Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, Roosevelt Avenue in Queens, and Midtown Manhattan. This pilot program has decimated the businesses in the affected zones and as a result there will be changes which go into effect beginning Saturday 8/18/18.
The Good: Roosevelt Avenue:
The old regulations from pre-clear curbs are restored! Blocks that had been changed to 2-hour as part of the pilot will remain as 2-hour metered parking, so the entire stretch will be standardized. This is a huge relief to the companies along Roosevelt avenue who saw steady revenue declines due to these restrictions.
Cautiously Optimistic: Flatbush Avenue (Dean St to Grand Army):
On the Northbound side,pre-existing morning rush hour 7a.m.-10a.m. will remain. The 4p.m.-7p.m. rush hour restrictions are removed. Truck loading must take place between 10a.m.-4p.m.
On the Southbound side, morning rush hour 7a.m.-10a.m. restrictions are removed. Pre-existing 4p.m.-7p.m. rush hour restrictions will remain. Truck loading is extended from 7a.m.-4p.m.
In addition, there are loading zone changes that truck driver need to be aware of:
- Doughnut Plant (Bergen St): truck loading zone will revert to its original setup, parking will reinstall the metered parking regulation that was removed due to the pilot
- Union Market (between Sterling and 8th): add a 50’ loading zone between the two fire hydrants
- Key Food (Sterling Place): extend it 30’
These changes are undeniably an improvement to the clear curbs initiative. Many of the Flatbush merchants requested reverting back to the previous rules. The everyday deliveries will improve but the specialty and service deliveries might still struggle with this. As of now the merchants seem happy with these changes which is why it is categorized as “cautiously optimistic”.
The Bad: Midtown Manhattan:
All plan elements (clear intersections, clear lanes and clear curbs) remain unchanged.
As with the Outer Boroughs, companies in the zone have seen revenue losses and some of the restaurants even had to change their menu around to accommodate the program. A major issue with the program in general and Manhattan specifically is the heavy-handed enforcement. Not just parking tickets, but the towing and booting of vehicles. Typically, if a company owes the city $350 in judgment tickets they are subject to being booted or towed. Now suddenly, a driver can be making a delivery and come back to a booted vehicle even though the company may not owe the city any money. Also, what about the right to fight the parking ticket? It is absurd to boot without due process first. It costs $185 to have a boot removed and that’s assuming the driver, or a company rep can pay in time, then the cost to tow is $370 for heavy duty vehicles. All the while, booted vehicles stand idly while commerce and traffic are delayed. If this remains in Midtown so will gridlock, so will rising costs, and so will empty store fronts.
City DOT always maintained that this was a pilot program with moving pieces subject to change. It is encouraging that in fact has been the case. It is wonderful to see the communities in Roosevelt, Flatbush, and Midtown push back against this initiative. Hopefully though changes happen to Midtown before it is too late.